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German, our best Latin writers have studied abroad. Is it worth spending the best hours of life to do such trifles so extremely ill ? Such men are not educated to raise the mind or character of any nation. In the world, as in the college, they live a life of shadows and phrases. We want legislation, and not pedantry: rulers, and not academicians.
The existence of our middle classes is essentially practical —“real”—as the Germans would term it; so also ought to be their education. It is anything but that. If low, it ends with reading, writing, and cyphering, and keeping accounts; that is with the key, but nothing else. If high, it is a grammar school, -latin, and latin, and nothing more. But a head manufacturer may not read twenty words of that language all his life, it lies in his mind as lumber; it not only fills but oppresses; he spends time and labour, and he gets half knowledge, or no knowledge, or the knowledge which he does not want; what he does want he cannot get. He has to deal with all sorts of results, chemical, mechanical, mineralogical,- what does he know of any one of them? His trade to him is art-magic, or mere mechanical routine; he blunders often, to be sure, on the right, and calls it good luck. But there is no good luck for the instructed; he sees, as it were, in the distance his discovery, and goes on to it by slow but certain steps. He does not bring out of his situation or means half what they might produce; the least degree of appropriate education would have doubled his power; but where are we to look for it? in this commercial nation, where are we to seek for a truly commercial school ?
Our lower classes are if possible worse off.—Schools of Industry, Hackney-Wicks, there doubtless are—but how easily can they be counted! It is the education of this or that society, not of the nation. The lower classes for the most part are born labourers, and are likely to die labourers: a noble destiny-a most bountiful dispensation, if they were only taught to think that it was such. It is the using of one's being—the ennobling consciousness that we have power—that we have faculties and limbs, and can make them produce—that we can strive and can succeed. No man is exempted from labour, of one kind or other, or if he be, he is to be pitied,,he is doomed to a curse. But are these the maxims upon which our popular education is founded? Are these the lessons not preached, but infused? Does the child enjoy, or turn to true value, either labour or relaxation? Is he taught equally to venerate the alphabet, and the plough? Is the soil and his own mind placed side by side, as the source of all manly pleasures and fortunes ? Does he know on leaving the school how to cultivate either? Is he taught to raise his physical existence beyond the scale of his forefathers, to fill up its intervals by mental enjoyments? Is he taught the duties of his state? with general ideas of vice and virtue, has he any idea of the peculiar complexion of the vices and virtues of his situation? He regards the tillage of the land as a penalty, and reading and writing, as an instrument only which may enable him some day to escape from it. In the interval he is an indolent labourer, and a discontented man. Do not say that in this case, his intellect has been overcultivated at the expense of the body-no such thing. Both have been allowed to lie fallow. Intellect is better exercised on things than words; a boy who has got the habit of observation, precise ideas upon what he sees and hears, who knows how to bring his stock into use whenever required, is a far better cultivator of his intellect than the glibbest reader and writer in the world; leave him his reading and writing, and nothing else, and you will only make him a secretary for Captain Rock. We confess our ideas of an educated peasantry are very different: they are those of Hackney-Wick: we should like to see their “learning” in their manner of turning up the soil and boiling a pot, their “virtues” in the Christian peace, and honesty of a comfortable cottage home. No wonder that the opposite course should have jostled the classes against each other, no wonder there should be vanity, and discontent, and disorder. Instead of simply but substantially clothing him, we send him our cast-off frippery, and set him up to be stared at by his fellows. The labourer wants education but in the sense of the labourer; he wants a coin that will pass; teach him to love his situation by making it a situation to be loved, and you will not require bayonets to force or keep him down. It is not the Coercive Statute nor the Poor Law, which is order, but every man in his right place, and every man endeavouring to make it so. This is not half so difficult as what we are so obstinately pursuing at present: we are acting in complete contradiction to circumstances and the human mind.
A third defect in our present education is that it is not carried out. The Hackney-Wick Committee watch over their pupils until they are twenty; we leave them at the threshold of the school. But how few are there at this tender age proof against temptation! How many are entangled in circumstances to which their moral power is not adequate! the age at which the passions are most powerful, statistically proved, is between the age of nineteen and twenty; it is precisely at this period that society which affects to be so solicitous for its own security and the happiness of its members, ushers the youth into the wild torrent of human action without a guide or a support; for there are few who walk aloof from the roar and tumult of existence,
ακεων παρα θινα πολυφλοισβοιο θαλασσης.”
or who have not in the world of their own soul, some especial Satan, to plunge them onward into fatal indulgence. This then is the time of all others for the guardian angel of Education to watch about their paths, to beckon them from the precipice, to stand between them and the enclosing enemy. Education must here, if not so directly, not less effectually, defend and conduct. All subsidiary means must be devised to keep awake the early religion of the heart; if the ordinary school be not sufficient, the reform school must come to its aid; vice must not be allowed to become crime; it must be met and extinguished in the bud. Libraries, and Societies, and moral and agreeable relaxations, must be everywhere ready to receive the well-disposed. If education is to begin at the cradle, it should end only at the grave; every form and stage of our existence should be considered a portion of its great course.
The prevalence of these defects constitute miseducation, and it is from miseducation, and not education, that all the evils complained of by the anti-educationist, necessarily and actually How; yet from a want of due reflection on these facts, there are few of the social order” men who do not raise the cry indiscriminately against both. Every age has its bugbear, and preachers to make it as appalling as possible,—this, of “too much education,” and “too rapid education," is ours. Dr. Bell had to apologise for teaching reading, and for awhile excluded, by way of compensation, all writing from his school; it was thought to dispose to forgery; but the forgeries apprehended did not follow, and Dr. Bell became a convert, and converted others, to writing. We confess we see no difference between this and the present outcry about teaching a few steps higher-giving glimpses, as it is scoffingly termed, of geography, geometry, singing, drawing, to clowns ! " Whereas before our fathers had no other books but the score, and the tally, thou hast caused printing to be used, contrary to the King, his crown, and dignity; it will be proved to thy face, that thou hast men about thee that usually talk of a noun and a verb, and such abominable words that no christian ear can endure."—All this is relative: the luxuries of one age are the necessaries of another; these men ought to go out into the highways, and cry down the too great celerity in the transmission of the post, the perilous innovation of rail-roads and steamers.-Oh! for the glorious days of Darby-Dillys and ten day journeys to London! What a horror, that men can now go to Paris for 13s. per head! Telegraphs, and hydro-oxygen light-houses would doubtless have been witchcraft, and punishable, to our fore-fathers.- When first a gas-light was erected in Pall Mall, the “ too rapid illuminators” who invented it were indicted for a nuisance. Many there are who still repine in their heart of hearts at the “Education nuisance," but we cannot therefore consent to take up with their blinking oil lights, though it might prove a better job for this or that churchwarden of the parish. In this anti-education section, all however is not mere candid fear or folly; every inch that is not fool is knave—there is a lurking idea, not that men may not see well enough, but that they may see too well ;-abuses may be discovered rather too early and too clearly for the convenience of those who fatten on them. This however, even for the monopolist, is a narrow view of the subject ; the advantages gained by putting into action so large an amount of mind, will far outbalance to him any advantage he may have specially held, not by his elevation in the social scale, but by the numbers he held below him. The present age is divided, like every other age, between admirers of the past, and hopers in the future; the old and young men, each in their relative positions, each with their characteristic passions and opinions; some see all perfection in the middle ages, the venerable “Mittel alter,” and all degeneracy and defect in the present; others the reverse. Both to a certain point are right, and both wrong. If present times have their defects, we must not forget that actual civilization, whatever it may be, is the accumulated result of many thousand years, and that its intellectual and moral physiognomy represent not only living men, but those also who have preceded them. The “esprit de négation," a fanatical rejection of all old methods, (for there is a fanaticism in reform as well as in resistance to reform,) may be carried in some cases too far, but it is the sign of "a living spirit”-it tokens, not retrocession but advance. The very disorders which attend such developement are not new to our age; they are the very condition of the vis motrix the centrifugal force which impels forward our humanity. Doubtless a centripetal force, to steady and well define principles, must also be generated, to keep us in our proper orbit, and this perhaps has not yet been found; but there is a tendency to find it, there is an anxiety, in despite of all cavil to the contrary, to seek it out. The present age is, truly speaking, not the sequel to the middle ages, but the middle age itself; it is eminently the age of transition; society is still looking on every side for the positive. They who would stop such search, not only do not understand mankind or men, but do not understand the interests of their own little selfishness, they see neither through metaphysical nor historical experience. A Conservatism which thinks to stand still whilst mankind is passing on, is a conservatism which resists, and from an enmity to revolution and anarchy, may become by such resisttance both revolutionist and anarchist. There is nothing final; in an universe all change; the moral, like the physical ocean, is not tideless; the vessel of this or that party may be anchored, but the waters on which it rides move on: its resistance serves only to mark more visibly, that if it be stationary these waters are not. If this be true, the anti-educationist who knows his own, and the public interests, has little choice. The question cannot wait-it cannot stand still—it ought not to stand still; it is then for him, even in the spirit of his own conservatism, no longer to vent his anger in idle exclamation, against all education, but to set himself with others in earnest to the task, to make education as good as he can: if he fears for the future, let him provide for it; if he be for resisting the age, let him take care that education, by distorted and diagonal movements, not in harmony with the age, does not rather enhance the evils of such resistance ; it is still in his power to rule posterity; but to do so, he must rise beyond the mists of the present, he must extend himself beyond the space of his ephemeral existence.
He who educates for his age only, will educate below the age upon which education should tell. He must bear in mind that a reform revolution has taken place, and thus to enlarge the limits of freedom, without at the same time enlarging the limits of knowledge, is working in an inverse ratio for all public happiness. The people require now, if ever, to be trained to the wisdom of using their franchises well; they must be educated up to the level of their new constitution, they are now called on to act—they must be taught, therefore, to see and think. The anti-educationist cannot repeal the new charter, he has only to see that its working be entrusted to such minds as in good time may work it well.
Few men now go to the full length of this direct hostility to education ; some have been frightened, others shamed, a few convinced, out of the absurdity. It is not less true, however, that there is still a strong though compromised feeling, moving in an under current against it. Not being able to extinguish education, many there are who are zealously engaged in neutralising it. Some have made it a monopoly, others a persecution; some have, under the title of “national, effectively excluded a large portion of the nation; others, by making it religious only, have injured the efficiency and profaned the sanctity of religion itself. Into the motives and movements of this class of anti-educationists, we do not now propose to go; but on some future opportunity we shall be enabled, we trust, to show that they have been still more injurious to the progress of education than the less insidious, but more blundering and open antagonist himself. These too must sooner or later melt, like their predecessors, into the ranks of the country. In an age which witnessed the passing of the